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A review of different Sci-Fi miniatures


GreenScorpion

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It has been a while since I posted something on my blog and since I have been thinking about different miniature lines and their advantages and disadvantages I decided to do a short review comparing miniatures from 3 different companies: GW, North Star and Wargames Atlantic.

The cover I chose for this blog entry is a conversion made of bits from different companies, including the 3 companies I will evaluate in this review.

As a initial warning, this review is based on my personal preferences and should be seen as a perfectly impartial review, but I will try to describe the advantages and disadvantages as straightforward as I can.

 

Lets start with GW

GW has a lot of experience and you can notice that easily with their model boxes, including the painted examples and the instructions that are often detailed enough to help with assembly.

Still the models have varied greatly throughout the years and there is a clear difference from older models to newer ones and in my opinion not everything is good.

Many modern models have loadouts that are only meant to be used with specific bodies/heads/other parts which wasn't the case for the older ones and this is particularly noticeable on the models with the more dynamic poses, where it can be painful to try and use slightly different loadouts or heads to give a different look (examples from my experience would include the escher models, some of the gsc infantry, but obviously there are more examples).

 

Advantages:

  • Experienced miniature designers
  • Useful assembly instructions (although not always perfect)
  • Painted examples (often with indication of the paints used)
  • Clear description of contents (in most cases)
  • Good sprue photos (most often than not)
  • Lots of extra parts for customization (although often not usable for all models)

Disadvantages:

  • Modern models tend to be less customizable without extra work (poses, places where parts fit and so on can be tricky to work around)
  • Heavy cost
  • Often difficult to find through EU retailers as many items are exclusives or have limited availability
  • Push fit models often have areas which lack detail despite being cut in lots of different fragile parts (seen in some of the old 5 cultists sprue and some of BSF renegade guard)

 

North Star Stargrave

The models done for the Stargrave game are mostly recent and thus the line is still relatively small, but the kits are overall well designed and the parts put on the sprue in a decent manner.

Some numbers on the arms are not always easy to see from some minor mould issues, but overall the quality of the sprues is great and the models are easy to assemble and can be customized in several different ways.

Since they were developed for small games the models are less standardized than something like IG in 40k but they are great for representing ship crews, militias, mercenaries and renegade forces that don't follow a strict uniform policy.

Sculpts for decorative parts are usually simpler compared to GW but extremely pleasing to the eyes and easy enough to paint.

The heads are often sculpted as different people and not just clones with different expressions/hair/beards, although you might see repeated bare heads across different kits in the same line.

 

Advantages:

  • Painted examples
  • Clear description of contents (in most cases)
  • Good sprue photos (not always but on most occasions)
  • Lots of extra parts for customization
  • Unique sculpts for the heads that avoid repetition
  • Decent sprue layouts
  • Good fitting of parts
  • Relatively cheap

Disadvantages:

  • Minor issues with areas of the sprue that are not well detailed (the numbers placed on the area of the arms that fits the body are not always visible)
  • Lack of experience in terms of model design (not an issue with Stargrave in particular but some of the first Frostgrave kits were a bit less customizable and designed in a simpler way)
  • Not as common as GW kits (still relatively easy to find through retailers but not everywhere)
  • No assembly instructions (although the models are easy enough to assemble so not a major issue)
  • Not standard in terms of equipment so not suited for things like IG regiments

 

Wargames Atlantic (mostly Death Fields)

Wargames Atlantic has the Death Fields line as a sort of IG proxies line, with many kits being roughly compatible with IG infantry in terms of weapons and gear, although there is a clear effort to be slightly different in terms of loadouts to avoid issues with GW.

There is a clear lack of experience in terms of kit development and while they are still relatively high quality, some part fitting is difficult (arms for example might not fit exactly right for some pairs) and some sprue layouts are not necessarily the best, with many kits having areas of simplified details to get around their inexperience.

There are no instructions and in some cases pairs of arms are found through experimentation or by checking reviews of the models.

Sprue pictures are usually available, but most seem to be taken with potato quality smartphones.

Lots of repeated sculpts, especially in the heads, for example with gas mask heads it is often the case that all of them are the exact same sculpt, no small details changed nor anything similar in order to add lots of customization.

 

Advantages:

  • Painted examples
  • Lots of extra parts for customization
  • Relatively cheap
  • Standard equipment

Disadvantages:

  • Bad fitting of some parts
  • Lack of experience in terms of model design (lots of issues come from the fact that the designers are good at making designs, but not good at making sure those look good in a sprue)
  • Not as common as GW kits (still relatively easy to find through retailers but not everywhere)
  • No assembly instructions (sometimes this can be an issue for some kits)
  • Repeated sculpts for the heads that cause lots of repetition
  • Bad sprue photos (not always but on most occasions)

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